His vision revolutionized industry, transformed life as we know it--and made him very, very rich.


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Episode credited cast:
Himself (archive footage)
Jack Perkins ...
Himself - Host


His vision revolutionized industry, transformed life as we know it--and made him very, very rich.

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1994 (USA)  »

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Henry Ford Puts the Pieces Back Together
30 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode, entitled "Henry Ford" without any sub-title, is produced in 1994, and re-broadcast on April 03, 1997, with Jack Perkins as Host and Narrator.

After arriving in Michigan from his native County Cork, Ireland, William Ford marries Mary Litogot, and in 1863, welcomes the first of their six children to survive childbirth, a son whom they name Henry.

Losing three children in infancy, Mary passes in childbirth, while Henry, age twelve, and four surviving siblings remain for William to rear from their Dearborn farm.

Well, Henry's a natural mechanic, who often dismantles the pocket watch presented for his thirteenth birthday, but also reconstructs it to working order.

At age sixteen, Henry Ford leaves the family farm to walk nine miles into Detroit, to accept a position with Dry Dock Company, manufacturers of iron products. He also divides his time working with machinery back on the farm, operating the Westinghouse portable steam engine.

1891, Henry welcome the Industrial Revolution, by becoming an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company, and soon Chief Engineer, before he invents, in 1896, the Ford Quadricycle, a horseless carriage designed by fixing a motorized cart between two bicycles. Henry Ford tests the Quadicycle and meets Inventor Thomas Edison, who encourages Henry's mechanical proclivity.

1899, Henry founds the Detroit Automobile Company, which lasts for two years, as Henry prefers racing his Quadricycle to manufacturing horseless carriages.

1903, Henry incorporates the Ford Motor Company, after selling his first automobile, the "Model A." Because other companies are beginning to produce practical horseless carriages by now, Ford decides that his products should be upgraded, and so he invents the "Model B" Ford.

1908, But it is the "Model T" Ford which brings the company its greatest success, and demand for the vehicle far outweighs production capability, as Ford manufactures 25 Model T's per day.

So, Henry Ford invents the assembly line concept, and accelerates production from 12.5 man-hours per unit to 93 minutes to crank out a car, thereby slicing prices and increasing the number of company jobs.

This would prove hard on labor to handle one same position on the assembly line throughout the day, but in 1914, Ford increases the minimum wage from $2.34 to $5.00 per day, and so applicants line up for positions.

Henry Ford speaks out against American involvement in WWI, and is named to the Universal Peace Flag Delegation, while Ford manufactures Eagle Boats to repel enemy submarines.

1919, Henry names son, Edsel, as Ford Motor Company President although Henry retains active management and control of its stock holdings when the family convinces corporate shareholders to sell their stocks back to the Fords.

But while Edsel reserves a quite nature of creativity, Henry bullies his son, challenging each decision, and undermining his every policy, trying to toughen the boy, but causing a series of disastrous results in the process.

After the Stock Market crash of 1929, Ford Motor Company manages well into those early years of Depression, but in 1931, layoffs and concessions lead to protests and riots, with police interceding and slaying five employees.

1932, Ford rebounds with its V8 model, managing through the Depression, as Labor reorganizes. With the next strike of 1941, it is matriarch Clara Bryant Ford who intercedes through her understanding of the needs of the workers.

1945, Daughter-in-law, Eleanor Ford, intercedes with Henry to name grandson Henry Ford II as Ford Motor Company President to lead the enterprises through WWII and beyond.

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Robert H. Casey (Automotive Historian: "The Model T: A Centennial History"), Robert Lacey (Author: "Ford: The Men and the Machine"), David Moore (former Ford Motor Company employee: 1935-72), Arthur Valenti (former Ford Motor Company employee: 1939-57), Charlotte M. Ford (Great-granddaughter of Henry Ford), and Edsel Ford II (Great-grandson of Henry Ford), with Jack Perkins (Host and Narrator).

Still Photographs include Mary Ford (Mother), William Ford (Father), Henry Ford (Self), Clara Bryant Ford (Wife), Edsel Bryant Ford (Son), Eleanor Ford (Daughter-in-law), Henry Ford II (Grandson), Walter Luther and Richard Frankenstein.

Archive film footage includes Henry Ford (Self), Clara Bryant Ford (Wife), Edsel Bryant Ford (Son), Henry Ford II (Grandson), "Our Gang" Child Performers, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, John Dillinger, Herbert Hoover (U.S. President), Louise Henry Hoover (U.S. First Lady), and Franklin D. Roosevelt (U.S. President).

Film Clips include scenes from "As Dreams Come True" --Ford Motor Company (1916-21), "Quadricycle and Model T" --Ford Motor Company (1927), WWI-Era Newsreel coverage, 1931 Ford Motor Company Riots, 1932 Campaign Speech, 1937 Filmed Radio Address (Edsel and Henry), and WWII-Era Newsreel coverage.

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